Two Baggage Handlers Fired At Boston Airport For Stealing From Checked Bags

In more disheartening news from our nation’s airports, two baggage handlers at Boston’s Logan International airport have been arrested for pilfering goods from customers’ checked luggage. All of the passengers who were victims flew on Lufthansa Airlines, and lost money, laptops, cameras and other expensive items.

WBZ-TV in Boston says the two men worked side by side in the terminal stealing items. State Police say they caught the alleged thieves by setting up hidden cameras, and say the men were spied on tape hiding stolen goods in their clothing and backpacks. Cops say some of the loot was recovered at the homes of the men.

TSA officers are on surveillance when they go through your bags, but often baggage handlers aren’t subject to the same video scrutiny.

This is far from the first time we’ve had to report on such shenanigans at airports, and unfortunately, it’s unlikely to be the last.

Previously: Thieving TSA Agent Serves As Reminder To Not Carry $5K In Your Coat ; TSA Employee Accused Of Lifting 8 iPads That Were Definitely Not His ; TSA Screeners At JFK Admit To Stealing $160K From Passengers; TSA Screener Accused Of Stealing $50K In Electronics From Travelers

Two Arrested For Stealing From Checked Luggage At Logan Airport [WBZ Boston]

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  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    From what I’ve learned watching LOST, you should pack all you need in a single carry on. That way if the luggage gets scattered across an island, you’ll still have all your clothes and electronics.

  2. eturowski says:

    And yet, we, the passengers, are the ones who can’t be trusted.

    • Jawaka says:

      There’s probably thieves working in every industry.

      • eturowski says:

        But at least other industries don’t force us to be separated from our personal possessions involuntarily for long periods of time, with little supervision of the employees to whom we entrust our belongings.

  3. az123 says:

    It amazes me that they are allowed into the “work” area with backpacks and there is not somebody monitoring them coming in and out for carrying large items they should not have.

    For god sake I think even Wal-Mart could be trusted more than these clowns

    • mckindley says:

      All that searching the baggage handlers every day would do is piss off the honest ones enough that they’d find another job. The criminals would find a way around it. Honestly, how long would you stay at your job if they started searching your bag every day before they would let you go home?

      And it would be easy to get around the searches. All the thieves would have to do is put a checked bag tag on their bag of stolen goodies and if stopped tell the person stopping them that they’re bringing the bag back to the ticket counter for a customer who was turned around by TSA at the checkpoint and needs to put their liquids in their checked bag. Bringing bags back to the ticket counter so a passenger can get something out of or put something into a bag is a common enough occurrence that it wouldn’t raise suspicion.

      Then they could either take the bag to their car, or hand it off to an accomplice.

      Management just needs to act when they learn that baggage handlers are stealing. Notice that the TSA is who figured all this out, and not anyone at Lufthansa? There’s no way management didn’t know what was happening. I was a baggage handler for a few years and my supervisor would steal things from people’s bags all the time. So we told our manager. His response? “If you see him do it again, call the airport police.”

      That’s the type of apathy that lets guys like this get away with this type of behavior.

      • Vox Republica says:

        “All that searching the baggage handlers every day would do is piss off the honest ones enough that they’d find another job.”

        Putting aside the validity of the assertion, consider the context: you’re saying that people in steady positions would be willing to voluntarily leave their positions in a down job market. That’s not exactly what I’d consider compelling rationale to not add more stringent security measures in regards to baggage handlers.

        As for your assertion of another extant security hole, then any changes in security protocol would have to account for such a canard. Establish a position that, in addition to supervising the overall security of passenger baggage, is also responsible for returning luggage to fliers turned around by TSA–and make the determination of who goes when entirely random. ID and timecode every instance. This is not an insurmountable security problem, simply one of pervasive laxity in understanding those elements (e.g., unpredictability, isolation) that minimize security breaches.

      • dush says:

        Just like all the TSA searching has pissed off all the good travelers leaving only the bad ones who will circumvent the procedures anyway.

      • ben says:

        Where’d you see that TSA figured this out? TSA has nothing to do with bagging handling. The State Police are the ones who caught them, and I’m assuming they were notified by either the airport, the airline, or the contracted baggage handling company, since I doubt that they randomly decided to set up hidden cameras.

  4. Cat says:

    Packing valuable items in checked luggage is never a good idea. Even if the airline does eventually reimburse you, you’re without it until they do. And they ARE responsible on international flights: http://www.elliott.org/blog/government-says-airlines-are-responsible-for-valuables-checked-on-international-flights/

    If you must put valuables in your checked bags, document the item (list of contents and copy of receipt), and take a photograph of the open bag with its contents.

    • mikedt says:

      On some other website somebody posted that they like to fill their bags with broken electronics. In almost every case the items are gone when the bags reach their destination.

    • Sad Sam says:

      True, but packing them in the carry on is not safe either. You can easily get separated from your carry on in the grope fest. I now won’t put my carry on through b/c I know I’m going to have to wait for a female groper. I wait until my groper is assigned and then I put them through, I then demand in a firm voice that she collect my carry on immediately and put it in front of me by my feet while I’m groped. Before I figured out the drill my stuff just sat on the other side of the scanner while passengers and TSA milled about. Someone could have, and it has happened at my home airport FLL to take my iPad or my jewelry which I always put in my carry on.

  5. Liam Kinkaid says:

    Fired? Wow, they must have done something really bad.

    • Bodger says:

      Don’t feel bad for them — based on their work experience they’ve both been hired on by TSA and will start work next Monday in the luggage screening area.

  6. Phildogger says:

    J-Roc’s Scrilla Villa is now closed for business.

  7. longfeltwant says:

    Another isolated incident, definitely not indicative of a widespread endemic culture of theft with impunity.

  8. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    You know it’s bad when the Union can’t protect you

  9. u1itn0w2day says:

    You should be disgusted but not surprised at this. Every major airport in the country has this crap going on. This is one of the many worries a flyer must deal with. TSA procedures and fees are bad enough but criminal activity…

    • eturowski says:

      If it weren’t for the TSA, it would be a lot harder for baggage handlers to pilfer from checked luggage – because passengers could use locks that actually, you know, keep people out.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        Exactly. The only other solution is to do other baggage checks and handling out in the open. At least let the public see them work. I would to know how manytime they must drop or kick my bags to get the dings and tears they do.

    • TomKeddie says:

      “You should be disgusted but not surprised at this.”

      I disagree strongly. The moment you stop being disgusted this becomes acceptable behaviour, speak out and invite change.

  10. TomKeddie says:

    This needs a baiting scheme with gps trackable decoys. Even the threat caused by the knowledge such a scheme exists will kill most of this activity.

  11. shthar says:

    Who the hell in this day and age still puts anything other than clothes in a checked bag?

  12. AngryK9 says:

    I can say that this kind of thing is so fracking common…

  13. WyomingGunAndHuntingEnthusiast says:

    Theres nothing i love more than random strangers sniffing my wife’s panties when we go on vacation.

  14. mckindley says:

    Are you sure you don’t already work in management for the TSA? The level of needless complexity you’re suggesting is at the heart of what makes everyone hate the TSA. It’s a complete overreaction to what is in truth a relatively minor problem. Very few bags actually get pilfered, and those that do are stolen from by a small handful of people. An anonymous tip line to the TSA or more effective local airline management would stop the vast majority of those cases.

  15. nautox says:

    Employee 1: What happens if you do a bad job in luggage handling?
    Employee 2: You get fired.
    Employee 1: What happens if you do a bad job in luggage handling and steal all the time?
    Employee 2: You get fired.
    Employee 1: What happens if you just steal all the time and don’t get caught.
    Employee 2: Nothing.

  16. AllanG54 says:

    Delta has it right, carry everything on. Spirit has it better…don’t take anything at all.

  17. Brihunts says:

    Economy still slumping , people are still stealing. Real news at 10.